Get Rid of the Nursery Rhymes
"Daddy finger, daddy finger, where are you?"
Not in my car, that's where.
I've got to be honest - I HATE nursery rhymes. The combination of nonsense lyrics that are repeated over and over again and the sickly-sweet voice of the usually British singer drives me completely batty.
Unfortunately, like all kids, my boys really do enjoy listening and singing to music, especially in the car...so what does a dad, who wants to make his kiddos happy while maintaining his own sanity, do?
He indoctrinates them when they are young.
(The last line is best read while imagining me rubbing my hands together with evil glee)
It actually started with The Kid was 6 months old and playing nicely by himself in the corner. I happened to start playing No Diggity - Blackstreet... and then this happened:
I light bulb switched on in my brain: What if I could get him to like the music I like, before his mom starts with the nursery rhyme nonsense?
The plan started immediately. That song was played repeatedly, and the more The Kid showed that he enjoyed it, the more positive feedback I gave to him. From Blackstreet we quickly moved on to some classic Michael Jackson and by the time he was 18 months old, Outkast was the number 1 listened to group in the AfroDaddy household.
Of course, finding Hip-Hop and RnB that is child-appropriate (according to the wife's standards...which is almost the same as mine) is pretty tough, but once you include some Will Smith tracks as well as Gangster's Paradise, you have enough music to get you to the shop and back.
Since then, we have expanded his playlist to include some Linkin Park (the hard drum intro of A Place for My Head is a massive favourite), White Stripes, Nirvana and Blur.
I'm always getting him to listen to music he hasn't heard before - always with the enthusiasm I had the first time - to see which songs we can add. Here's what I've discovered helps a track get into The Kid's playlist:
1) If dad can rap or sing along
2) It's loud, especially with a prominent kick drum
3) Someone is shouting
4) He can play air drums with it
Right now, this is The Kid's favourite song. It's requested the moment we get into the car...and I couldn't be happier:
I asked some of the AfroDaddy Facebook family what they were playing in their cars, so here are some other suggestions if you can't listen to another round of Julia Donaldson:
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